LFF #4 -- She, a Chinese

From the London Film Festival: continental drift

She, a Chinese
dir: Xiaolu Guo

Not too sure what to make of this one -- though I think it probably falls into the category of "nice idea, shame about the film". Xiaolu Guo is the author of two well-received novels about young Chinese women who have grown up during the country's rapid transformation. The lives of her characters resemble Guo's own trajectory, from a childhood in rural China, to working in the Beijing film industry, to living in London.

She, a Chinese follows the same pattern, but its protagonist, Li Mei, pictures the harsher side of China's economic miracle. A disaffected teen more interested in listening to her iPod than helping her mother with chores, Mei runs away to Chongqing, where she ends up working as a prostitute. She then moves to London, where she gets a visa by marrying an old Englishman, though the relationship soon disintegrates.

Unfortunately the angry young woman narrative that worked well in her books falls flat on screen. Are we supposed to feel as listless about Mei as she looks? We rush through too many different settings for the relations between characters to develop; if that's a comment on the transience of migrant life, then other elements, such as the experience of the cities Mei passes through, are not strong enough to make up for it. Having said that, the film creates a nice affinity between the backstreets of Chongqing and the London takeaway shop in which Mei ends up living. Plus, there's one fantastic shot: a slow pan of the view in Chongqing, a sense-defying sprawl of large but mediocre tower blocks and endless grey smog.

Daniel Trilling is the Editor of New Humanist magazine. He was formerly an Assistant Editor at the New Statesman.

Marjane Satrapi
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SRSLY #8: Graphic Teens

We talk Diary of a Teenage Girl, Marvel's Agent Carter, and Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis.

This is SRSLY, the pop culture podcast from the New Statesman. Here, you can find links to all the things we talk about in the show as well as a bit more detail about who we are and where else you can find us online. Listen to our new episode now:

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The Links

Find out more about Let's Talk Intersectionality here.

 

On Diary of a Teenage Girl:

Here is Barbara Speed's piece about the film and its approach to sexuality.

She has also written in more detail about the controversy surrounding its 18 certificate.

We really liked June Eric-Udorie's piece about the film for the Independent.

 

On Agent Carter:

You can find all the episodes and more info here.

Caroline has written about Agent Carter and female invisiblity here.

This is also quite a perceptive review of the series.

Make sure you read this excellent piece about the real-life Peggy Carters.

 

On Persepolis:

Get the book!

You can see the trailer for the film adaptation here:

Three great interviews with Marjane Satrapi.

 

For next week:

Caroline is watching The Falling. The trailer:

 

Your questions:

If you have thoughts you want to share on anything we've discussed, or questions you want to ask us, please email us on srslypod[at]gmail.com, or @ us on Twitter @srslypod, or get in touch via tumblr here.

 

Our theme music is “Guatemala - Panama March” (by Heftone Banjo Orchestra), licensed under Creative Commons.

See you next week!

PS If you missed #7, check it out here.

Caroline Crampton is web editor of the New Statesman.

Anna Leszkiewicz is the New Statesman's editorial assistant. She tweets at @annaleszkie.